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Student slum that I learned to love

Posted by Rona Fischman July 23, 2010 02:11 PM

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My father was a man of few words. So when he said “This is the worst apartment you have ever lived in” it made me think about my choice of residence. The year was 1986. My objective was to have a lot of space and a low rent, so I turned a blind eye to a lot of defects.

What was wrong with the place? It had a large gas-fired space heater in the living room; it was big and brown and ugly and probably dangerous. There was electric heat back-up in the bedrooms, but using it was about as efficient as making a bond-fire of one dollar bills. It was across the street from the ambulance garage. It was next to the parking lot of “Ye Ol’ Waterhole and Beer Can Museum”

Since I live to tell the tale, the space heater did not leak carbon monoxide, at least not too much. I didn’t die of pneumonia either.

The ambulance garage had an agreement not to use their sirens until they got to the corner. However, we needed to lobby them to refrain from midnight maintenance using hydraulic equipment with their doors open. (When their doors were open and our windows were open it was like trying to sleep in a dentist’s chair.) That spring was unpleasant.

As for Ye Ol’ Watering Hole. Well, there I learned that drunks only have two kinds of arguments. One goes like this: “I don’t care if you don’t want to leave yet; one of us has a job and has to get up in the morning…” The other went along these lines: “I saw you looking at him (or her). You were embarrassing me…” This, of course, was a real joy at one in the morning.

So, what was right with this place? The price and the space and the people who lived there. It had two adult-sized bedrooms, a huge kitchen with pantry and counters, and an acceptable living room. There were huge decks on both the back and the front of the building. There was off-street parking. It was right near the center of town, but was a on a dead end street. The building had six units and the tenants were friendly. I made a friend for life with one of the women downstairs. I lived there relatively happily for two years.

I disagree with my father that this was the worst place I ever rented. It was a student slum that I learned to love. Maybe I ended up as a real estate agent because I learned that everyone makes different choices.

What was the place your parents hated that you loved? What was the worst place you ever rented? What’s on your hit-list for things to avoid?

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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